Will Ted Koppel replace George Stephanopoulos on ABC's 'This Week'?
Friday, January 8, 2010
The possibility that Ted Koppel might be replacing George Stephanopoulos as anchor of ABC News's Sunday morning Beltway show, "This Week," is not exactly breaking news. His name has been on the list of contenders for a while -- along with usual suspects Gwen Ifill and ABC News correspondents Jake Tapper and Terry Moran, who have been the topic of test-run sightings over the past few weeks.
But Politico doused the embers of the Koppel-in-play story with lighter fluid Thursday by reporting that ABC News had made a $1 million offer to Koppel to host the show three Sundays a month. The news division's president, David Westin, sought to apply a fire hose to the blaze, e-mailing Politico the following:
"We are in the middle of the process, and I will not comment on the specifics of whom we are and whom we are not talking to. I'm considering a number of alternatives. I will pull back the veil to the limited degree of telling you -- for the benefit of your readers -- that just about every specific that you have is false."
The Sunday Beltway show ratings race was thrown wide open in June 2008 with the shocking death of Tim Russert, who for 16 years had an iron grip on the ratings crown as host of NBC's "Meet the Press."
While "Meet the Press," now hosted by David Gregory, is still in the lead, ABC's show has been chipping away at the gap, and Koppel would not only bring elder statesmanship to "This Week," he presumably would bring a built-in audience, having created ABC's late-night news franchise, "Nightline," in 1980 and anchored it for more than 20 years.
After leaving "Nightline," Koppel joined Silver Spring-based Discovery Channel in 2006 as managing editor, making documentaries for the network. But the two parties agreed to part ways in 2008.